Three Minute Squiz With… Greg Baxter

Greg Baxter is one of Australia’s leading communications experts specialising in crisis management and media relations at top firm Newgate Australia. If there’s a company or public figure in trouble, he’s usually not far away from the action. Also a husband and father of two daughters, Greg’s arm can sometimes be twisted to share a glass of red, a good chat, and many laughs. Welcome Greg to the Three Minute Squiz.

How and where do you Squiz?
On the mobile, in the dark, but without the torch that once illuminated Biggles.

You’ve advised some of Australia’s top companies and well-known personalities on their public relations issues. What’s the key to being liked?
Only they could tell you. I try to tell clients the truth, explain how I’ve dealt with similar problems before, tell them what I think the answer is and, what could go wrong if I’m wrong. If that makes sense we go from there. I don’t set out to be their friend; I’m there to help solve their problem. But I’m lucky to have good relationships with a lot of people I’ve helped through an issue or a crisis.

And when those companies/personalities are in a spot of bother, what’s the top three things they should do?
1. Tell the truth. Apologise. Do what you can to fix the problem.
2. Go for full disclosure. Don’t forlornly hope that what hasn’t yet emerged will remain a secret. It won’t and then things will get worse.
3. Keep perspective. In a week, usually less, your story will be nowhere near as bad as it feels today.

Australian politics – geez! What would you be advising Scott Morrison to do right now?
Do what he said at his first presser as PM. Remember, every day, it’s all about us.

And what about Bill Shorten?
Bill and his team should behave the way they claimed to feel about Malcolm last Friday. With respect and a bit of class, even some prospect they might also focus on what’s best for the country.

You were part of the line up on former senator Sam Dastyari’s pilot program Disgrace which looks at the ‘outbreak of outrage’ in the world today. What was it that appealed to you about the program and convinced you to grace our screens?
Vanity. And I trust and like the people who produced it. It sounded like fun to do and it was.

As a well known renaissance man of impeccable taste, give us the quick and dirty on your favourite book, movie, wine, hotel?
Too hard; but here’s a list of things that affected me or I related to at the time, in ways I haven’t forgotten:
Book –Any Human Heart by William Boyd*
Movie –The Deer Hunter
Wine – Every sangiovese we had on our honeymoon in Italy last year.
Hotel -Almost any good country pub in England with a great kitchen.

If you could invite any four people – living or dead – to dinner, who would they be? And what are you cooking?
My mother Fay, my wife Creina and my daughters Elizabeth and Amelia and we are having a roast.

What would you say is the most overrated virtue?
Abstinence of any kind.

What qualities do you most value in a friend?

Go-to karaoke song?
Wild Thing, with Joe Hildebrand. We have never been asked to do it again.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
Where do I start? To be able to sing, play guitar, draw, paint…

What would you say is the most overlooked news story of the moment?
Almost any issue Richard di Natale reminded us all that Parliament was ignoring, during his impassioned speech to the Senate last week. He sounded as angry as I and millions like us felt.

*Buy this book using the Booktopia link and The Squiz will get a little commission.

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.